FAST FACTS: The Philippine Military Academy

For over a century, the prestigious Philippine Military Academy has been a training ground for the country's future military leaders

MANILA, Philippines – For over a century, the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) has served as a training ground for thousands of military personnel.

These men and women have fought valiantly in wars and served in government as vanguards of peace or representatives of ordinary people.

The latest batch of cadets, the Siklab Diwa Class of 2014, will graduate on Sunday, March 16.

To mark this momentous occasion, here are 10 key facts about their alma mater, the PMA.

1. PMA started in 1905 as an officers’ school for the Philippine Constabulary in Intramuros, Manila. It produced its first graduates the following year. The school was renamed the Academy for Officers of the Philippine Constabulary in 1918, and then the Philippine Constabulary Academy (PCA) in 1926.

In its website, the PMA traced its roots to the Academia Militar, a military school established in October 1898, during the administration of President Emilio Aguinaldo. However, it closed barely 4 months later due to increasing hostilities between Philippine and American forces at the time.

2. PMA was formally created on Dec 21, 1935, through Commonwealth Act No. 1, or the National Defense Act. The academy was authorized to award a Bachelor of Science degree to its graduates.

Photo from PMA website

3. In 1908, the academy moved to Baguio City. It settled on Constabulary Hill (later renamed Camp Henry T. Allen, after the first chief of the PCA) until 1936. It moved to Teacher’s Camp and stayed there up to 1941, when World War II broke out.

In 1947, when PMA operations resumed after the war, the PMA campus returned to Camp Henry T. Allen until 1950, when it moved to its current home in Fort Gregorio del Pilar in Loakan, Baguio City.

4. There were no PMA graduates in 1939, due to an adjustment in the length of the course of instruction.

In 1936, the curriculum was extended to 4 years, from 3 years. Therefore, cadets who entered in 1935 (back when it was PCA) graduated in 1938, but the 1936 freshmen (when the school became PMA) graduated in 1940. In addition, there was no PCA Class of 1930.

From 1946 to 1950, PMA also had no graduates. The school was reopened only in 1947, and the first post-war graduates emerged in 1951.

5. At the outbreak of World War II in December 1941, the classes of 1942 and 1943 graduated in advance, while the classes of 1944 and 1945 were sent home. Nevertheless, members of these classes fought during the war. PMA’s alumni registry includes all 4 classes.

6. The Philippine Military Academy motto is “Courage, Integrity, Loyalty.”

7. The first non-Filipino graduate of the PMA is Thaval Sawangpunka of Thailand, from the Class of 1960.

8. The tradition of naming PMA classes started only in 1967, with Dimasupil (roughly translated to “cannot be defeated”) as the first batch name. (READ: How to name a PMA class?)

9. The first female PMA graduates belonged to the Class of 1997. They were admitted to the PMA in 1993. This is in accordance with Republic Act 7192, or the “Women in Development and Nation Building Act.”

10. In 1993, the PMA adopted a “tri-service curriculum,” wherein cadets have the option to choose a major service to specialize in and join – either the Army, the Navy, or the Air Force. In their last two years in the academy, the cadets take up subjects and undergo training necessary in their chosen branch of service. – with research by Loren Bustos/Rappler.com

Sources: pma.ph, geocities.ws/graynotes/1939.htm, geocities.ws/graynotes/warclasses.htm, koolnet.com, PMA Alumni Registry 2004

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